Marketing Information

Marketing Quandaries


Being in a quandary prevents you from moving forward in developing and marketing your business. When we're in a quandary, we are in a state of perplexity and doubt. We don't know how to move forward to accomplish those things that are crucial to attracting clients and growing our business. One of the first things we need to recognize about being in a quandary is that we are, in fact, in one! There are a number of easy, simple things that you can start doing today to get yourself out of that place of being stuck.

1. Craft a business plan and review it quarterly. A business plan is your strategy for guiding your business towards the success you envision. It is a roadmap. It will serve to guide you from where you are today to where you want to be. It includes important items like defining your business niche and target market, your marketing plan, financial projections, staffing, investments, as well as the benefits and features of your products and services. If you don't have a plan to follow, your chances of achieving success are greatly diminished. Plans remind us of what we are doing and why. They help to keep us on track and provide a benchmark to which we can compare our actual progress.

2. Write down weekly goals and measure your performance. One of the best ways to become unstuck is to write down what we want to accomplish. Several important things happen as a result. First, writing something down makes it more real. You take your ideas that are swimming around in your head and you put pencil to paper and start making them a reality. Second, by writing down your goals, it helps you to become more clear about what you want to accomplish. Fuzzy goals result in fuzzy outcomes. Writing will help you gain more clarity. Finally, by keeping a written record of what you intend to do, you're automatically providing yourself with a handy checklist against which you can measure your performance.

3. Revisit your marketing plan monthly. Your marketing plan, one subset of your overall business plan, is fundamental to your business success. It includes your strategies for selling your product or service. It typically includes a marketing calendar, which lays out your plans week by week and month by month of what you intend to do. Your activities might include placing advertisements, public speaking engagements, publishing articles, teaching seminars or workshops, attending networking events, or publishing a weekly column in a newspaper. Each of these activities needs to be carefully defined, scheduled in your marketing calendar, executed, and measured for effectiveness. It's crucial to track what you are doing to market your business so you can make adjustments along the way - to do more of what works and less of what doesn't work. Revisit and revise your marketing plan monthly.

4. Watch the trends. When you're in business for yourself, there is a lot to be said for "keeping up with the Joneses". As a businessperson it is important to be aware of the trends, the fads, and the current "group think". This information provides valuable input to help you either develop new products or services for your clientele, or to repackage, repurpose, or reposition the ones you currently have. While we might not care for the current trends, the fact is they do influence customer sentiment and what they will buy from you. You need to make sure consumers understand your marketing and that it speaks to them and the current issues they may be facing.

5. Survey your clients. One quick way to get out of a marketing quandary is to survey your clients and find out what they're thinking, what they like, what they don't like, and what they most want. When in doubt, just ask. There are a variety of ways you can survey your clients. You can call them up for an informal chat, you can send them a survey through the mail, or better yet, you can send them an electronic survey, which you can create either for free or for a low fee through a variety of means including www.advancedsurvey.com, www.surveymonkey.com, or www.zoomerang.com. If you need ideas or feedback, there is no better way to get it than through doing a survey.

6. Analyze your clients. Sit back and consider the types of clients that you do business with. Most folks never take the time to do this, yet this simple exercise can yield an abundance of valuable information. Profile your clients. You might even want to make notes on a piece of paper. What is the mix of men to women, what are their ages, their interests, their family profile, their occupations, their hobbies, their income level? This information, alone, can tell you not only the types of clients that you attract, but also you may find some commonalities among these folks. This might help to spark new ideas for products or services to develop. It might even open the door to an opportunity to partner with a client.

7. Keep in touch. Keeping your finger on the pulse of what is happening is one way to avoid being in a marketing quandary. Maintain an awareness of the latest trends and fads, especially the ones that would influence folks in buying your products and services. Network with others so that you can develop new business relationships. Keep in touch with your current clients so that you can continue to cultivate these relationships and build the promise of future referrals. And, interface with your professional colleagues, even those with whom you compete, as you can benefit yourself and your clients by having someone to whom you can refer others. Keeping in touch with colleagues, clients, and everyone in between is the best way to ensure that you have the latest and greatest information by which to steer your business.

8. Don't do it alone. A quick way out of any place of inaction is to get into action. A great way to do that is to find someone else to partner with. A strategic alliance is not only a wonderful opportunity to combine your talents with that of someone else, it's a great way to share ideas from which both of you can benefit. You can accomplish much more and more quickly by working with someone else. You'll also have the added benefit of making new contacts, possibly increasing your own client base if you share that information, and, of course, you'll add to your own professional toolkit. If there is something new you want to learn or do and you don't have the expertise, seek out someone else who might be able to help.

9. Create an R & D team. One of the most common reasons for getting stuck is the lack of input. If you don't have any new input, it's difficult to determine the best course of action when it comes to developing your business. You'll never be at a loss for valuable feedback if you create your very own research and development team. You can easily create an informal group of clients, friends, and colleagues who can give you feedback about current products or services you offer or ones you hope to debut in the future. One of the best ways to determine if your ideas have merit is by asking others about them. By presenting these folks with your ideas, samples or even the actual product or service itself, they'll be able to give you valuable feedback before you commit a significant amount of resources. Companies in every industry make use of R & D teams before committing substantial and expensive resources towards the release of a particular product. You can do exactly the same thing.

10. Learn something new and implement it. New input is sometimes all you need to get yourself going again. Challenge yourself to learn something new - and not just for the sake of learning. Think about something new that you would like to do for your business. Craft a goal around what you would like to do, carefully spelling out the details along with a due date for completion. Writing down this goal will help to make it a reality. Then go out and seek the knowledge you need to make this happen. Consult experts. By learning something new and implementing it in your own business, you'll not only increase your knowledge and value, but you'll be opening your business up to new opportunities. We all need new input to create new output. Learn something new that will make a difference to you personally and professionally.

© Copyright 2004 by Alicia Smith

Alicia Smith, a Coach and Trainer whose specialty is helping people Make Money Now. This article is derived from just one of the 26 lessons contained in her audio program, Marketing Marathon Blunders From A - Z. To learn more about that course and her other products and services, please visit http://www.90DayMarketingMarathon.com or http://www.AliciaSmith.com.You can also email her at alicia@aliciasmith.com.


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